Breaking Out of the Ranks

I Chronicles 4:9-10 “And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.”

In the opening chapters of I Chronicles, you are confronted with a lengthy list of names. In most cases, it is nothing more than who begat who with an occasional comment for clarity. That is with the exception of a man by the name of Jabez; the man who “Breaks Out of the Ranks.” I have been saved for over fifty years and it is refreshing to occasionally see someone breaking out of the ranks of nominal Christianity! Jabez is an example of that type of individual!

(I) The Testimony of the Sovereign – vs.9

It is necessary to be mindful of who is doing the speaking; “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Peter 1:21). Being a God-breathed book, our Bible is the words of God. When we read that “Jabez was more honourable than his brethren”, that is not the testimony of mortals, but the Master! The God that “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12), looked over the sea of humanity and after complete knowledge of all men’s hearts said that Jabez was more honourable than his brethren. The thought behind the phrase “more honourable” is that of being weighty, to abound with, to promote to honor. God saw attributes and actions that when placed in the balances of Divine discernment were worthy of acknowledging or calling to attention. While it may not be the case, this is the type of life I wish to have; a life that the Sovereign, the saints, and society takes notice of. I am sure that most have a similar desire, but while we may possess the desire we lack the determination to accomplish such a notable deed.

(II) The Temperament of the Saint – vs.10a

Sometimes profundity is found in simplicity! The thing that made Jabez’s life so profound was the simplicity of his desires. Jabez was a man that pursued the spiritual at the expense of the secular. While it is not palatable to the taste, you are as spiritual as you want to be! The greatness of Jabez’s character is marked by his pursuit of a person; “And Jabez called on the God of Israel.” Jabez knew that the spiritual desires of his heart could never be accomplished in the energy of the flesh; were it not for the divine intervention of God, he would be confined to the ranks of mediocrity. Jabez sought God’s blessing in at least three areas of life. Jabez sought God for habitation, “enlarge my coast.” Jabez sought God for help, “that thine hand might be with me.”Jabez sought God’s holiness, “that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!” What would never be accomplished in the futile efforts of the flesh was certain to come to pass with the enablement of His Heavenly Father.

(III) The Triumph of the Supplicant – vs.10b

As I ponder Jabez’s triumph, God’s promises resonates through my spirit; “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:4-5). When you want what God wants and God wants what you want; it is bound to come to pass.

The only thing better than seeing someone break through the ranks, is being the one that does it. Oh that my determination would be equivalent to my lofty desires! May I leave the ranks of mediocrity and passionately pursue His habitation, His help, and His holiness!